December brings 2019’s 2nd Friday the 13th

Friday – December 13 – comes exactly 13 weeks after the year’s first Friday the 13th in September. Zoinks! By the way, a fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Snowy, rocky mountaintop against a pink sky.

Amazon fires quickening glacier melting in Andes

The burning rainforest releases black carbon into the atmosphere, which, according to a growing number of scientific studies, directly contributes to the melting of glaciers.

A year with 13 Friday the 13ths?

Should we ever adopt the International Fixed Calendar, we’d have 13 months in a year, with each month containing a Friday the 13th. Friggatriskaidekaphobia – aka fear of Friday the 13th – would be rampant! Or not. Read more about this calendar system here.

Christmas Bird Count starts December 14

It’s time again for the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. This is the project’s 120th year! Learn how to join the count here.

Chennai engineer helped find India’s Vikram lander, which crashed on the moon

In September, India hoped to become the 4th nation to soft land on the moon successfully with its Chandrayaan 2 mission. Moments before touchdown, the mission’s Vikram lander crashed. Now the lander has been found again.

A blond dog and a black one sleeping with their heads touching.

A better way to convert dog years to human years

Researchers collected DNA samples from 104 Labrador retrievers over a 16-year period. They compared changes in their DNA samples against DNA previously collected from humans. The result? A better sense of what a “dog year” really means.

Several turkeys against a blue sky background.

Thanksgiving turkey: Light meat or dark?

Want to avoid politics at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner? Amaze your companions with your knowledge of why different cuts of turkey have different characteristics.

Cranberries: More than a holiday side dish

Fun facts about this floating fruit, the blueberry’s bitter cousin.

ESA studies human hibernation for space travel

In movies and books, fictional astronauts enter ‘suspended animation’ to cross the vastness of space. Recently ESA investigated how real-life crew hibernation would impact a space mission to Mars.

Array and circular star trails.

Awesome nightscape photos from New Mexico’s Very Large Array

Observatories are great places to view and photograph the night sky. Tips from an astrophotographer’s trip to the Very Large Array in New Mexico – to help you plan your next astrophotography adventure – plus awesome photos.

View of Earth over the side of the ISS.

Friday’s spacewalk is underway

Click in to learn how to watch 2 International Space Station astronauts perform the 1st in a series of spacewalks NASA is calling “the most complex in a decade.”

Edmond Halley’s magnificent prediction

Born on today’s date in the year 1656, English astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley was the first to predict the return of a comet. Today, Halley’s Comet – the most famous of all comets – bears his name.

What’s the birthstone for November?

Happy birthday November babies!  Your birthstone, the topaz, can be blue, pale green, yellow, pink, red, purple, brown and even black.

Man standing in the center of a giant crystal doughnut.

Scientists study world’s biggest geode

Scientists recently studied the formation of the huge crystals inside the giant geode of Pulpí, located deep in a Spanish mine. They revealed the natural process that grew the crystals, ripening them over thousands of years and making them literally crystal clear.

Is daylight time worth the trouble?

This is the weekend we “fall back” here in the U.S. Are you glad? Sad? Mad? Advocates say daylight time saves energy and wins wars. Studies show injuries and illnesses rise when clocks change.

Face of a fierce-looking owl.

Night vision specialists: cats, bats, and owls

Three spooky Halloween animals see better at night than we do. Here’s how they do it.

Halloween is a cross-quarter day

The 4 cross-quarter days fall between equinoxes and solstices. Halloween is the spookiest one – derived from a sacred festival of ancient Celts and Druids – coming as days grow short and nights long in the Northern Hemisphere.

Animation shows contrast between August 2018 and August 2019 fires on a map of the whole Earth.

Is Earth on fire?

The European Space Agency was asking this question late last week, as multiple fires burned across the globe. Read more about 2019 fires, and fire-tracking via satellite, here.

Streaks of light in circles against a black background.

What are star trails, and how can I capture them?

Star trails are the continuous paths created by stars, produced during long-exposure photos, such as the images in this post.

Update on the 2nd interstellar visitor

Astronomers in Poland have just published the 1st peer-reviewed paper on the 2nd interstellar visitor, now officially labeled as a comet, 2I/Borisov. Plus check out the new Hubble Space Telescope image of this object.